Experts Weigh in on Individualized Care
Experts Weigh in on Individualized Care
by Kayla Gill on October 1, 2021
Recovery is an extremely personal process. Each person’s needs are different, whether you’re healing from a broken leg or a substance use disorder. With that in mind, many luxury rehabs offer individualized treatment.
As Jan Gerber, CEO of Paracelsus Recovery, explains, “every person is very different, and this one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, mental health, and addiction rarely works well. Everybody has a different background: culturally, in terms of their family values, political views, hobbies, what gives meaning to their lives, and their lack of purpose in their lives.” Most rehab facilities offer some aspects of individualized care, such as one-on-one talk therapy. However, some programs take this approach much further. Certain residential rehab centers offer every individual client a completely bespoke experience, tailored to meet their exact needs.
If you choose to attend an individualized rehab program, the treatment process may begin even before you arrive. You’ll begin by going through a detailed intake process, in which providers get to know you. Dr. Christine Merzeder, Senior Clinical Coordinator at Paracelsus Recovery, says, “we start with an interview on the telephone or people write their own history of how they think their situation is. Then we work our way through the medical file. There’s no routine – it’s always something very, very different. Every client is a very individual case.”
Once your team is familiar with your personal needs and priorities, they’ll collaborate with you to create a treatment protocol that fits your values, needs, and goals. For example, some clients may benefit from 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Others might prefer to focus on one-to-one therapy. At White River Manor, for example, groups are not mandatory. Jeanine Fourie, Therapeutic Director and Co-Owner of the facility, firmly believes that “each client is here for their own treatment, and their own journey of recovery…it’s important for us that they feel that they get what they need out of their time with us. We accommodate what each client specifically needs.”
These bespoke programs offer benefits that may be hard to find in more structured rehabs. Notably, clients are more active in the process of choosing which therapies they’ll engage in. This allows you to practice making healthy choices in a safe context, surrounded by treatment providers who can provide structure as needed.
Individualized care isn’t for everyone. If you’d prefer to recover in a more structured and predictable environment, you may prefer a different style of treatment. However, certain demographics are more likely to benefit from a highly personalized approach.
Many people with substance use concerns present with co-occurring disorders. And clients with co-occurring conditions often find great value in programs tailored to meet their unique needs. For example, if you’re in recovery from both substance use and PTSD, you may require a very different treatment plan than a person recovering from both substance use and treatment-resistant depression.
The Hope House Scottsdale, for example, offers individualized care in order to treat dual diagnoses. According to their philosophy, “There isn’t one way to treat mental health problems.” This program utilizes a variety of treatment options—such as biofeedback, EMDR, family therapy, CBT, DBT, and group therapy—to treat clients with substance use disorders and additional mental health concerns.
Like any other demographic, high-level executives are sometimes subject to substance use disorders. However, high-achieving people often have a unique set of needs during recovery. You may be unable to step away from work or family commitments in order to get the help you need. You may also be accustomed to a certain standard of living, and concerned about spending time without necessary amenities.
A number of rehab facilities offer executive treatment programs, which are specifically designed to address these concerns. “A lot of business executives, business owners and professionals come through our program,” says Giles Fourie, Director and Co-Owner of White River Manor. “A lot of business executives, business owners and professionals come through our program. And that’s because we offer our clients the ability to use their phones, to work from the luxury of their rooms or the business center, and keep whatever they need to keep going at their office still running.”
This approach makes recovery accessible for clients with demanding schedules. Individualized care is often a good solution for people who need to balance their health with their responsibilities, instead of sacrificing one for the other.
Individualized care programs tend to have a strong emphasis on discretion, which may be important to high-profile clients. Safe from prying eyes, you’ll be able to focus entirely on your own healing process.
It’s important to note that while these environments are protected, they don’t have to be isolating. Clients are often encouraged to continue the activities that make them feel the most grounded and capable. For example, Orenda at Futures is home to an addiction and mental health treatment program specifically designed for athletes. In residence here, clients continue to train throughout the recovery process.
Research suggests a link between social isolation and substance abuse1. And many clients benefit from honing their interpersonal skills during rehab. Individualized care often offers a greater degree of privacy, but doesn’t have to be isolating.
Of course, your specific rehab program will determine how you connect with the people around you. In some facilities, you’ll go through recovery with a small cohort of peers. Soberman’s Estate, for example, hosts a maximum of 10 people at a time. This format allows clients to find common ground and build relationships with each other. You’ll also be able to practice social skills in a safe, supervised context, which may alleviate concerns about falling back into unhealthy patterns.
Dr. Thomas Gazda of Soberman’s Estate is very focused on providing individualized care to each of his clients. “When I sit down with a patient,” Gazda says, “I want to know more about them. I want to know about their background. What are their passions in life? What passions have they lost during their addiction? Have they become bored or distracted by something? What are they getting away from? Those things kind of come out…It’s very individualized.” Clients are able to receive a high level of personal attention, as well as observe their peers in recovery. For many people, this is an effective way to balance their need for a specific type of treatment with the universal need for community.
Other programs take individualized care a step further, treating only one client at a time. Mercui Recovery is one such rehab center. Clients are hosted in a remote wilderness location, far from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Each person’s experience is unique, and “every client service is customized for the individual, every time.” This experience would likely not be a good fit for people who want to focus on peer-to-peer support during rehab. However, this unfettered access to your clinical team gives clients the time to create a comprehensive aftercare plan before completing the program. That plan may include a network of family and loved ones, local support groups, continued therapy, and medical care.
For many clients, the experience of individualized care is “the first time in their life that they pool all their medical information together,” says Dr. Christine Merzeder, Senior Clinical Coordinator of Paracelsus Recovery. “With one client at a time, the knowledge base and communication base are very efficient. It’s a lot of being alert and not missing any information, and there’s no standard clinical path you can develop for that because every case is individual…it’s efficient, it’s fast, it involves the client and their family. And when they leave they get a written summary with all the findings and recommendations.”
In some highly individualized programs, you’ll be able to stay in touch with your friends, family, and possibly even your colleagues. This is most often true of rehabs that treat only one person at a time, and those that cater to high-achieving professionals. This strategy allows you to connect with people from afar, and then process your recent interactions with them during therapy. Even without on-site peer support, you’ll be able to practice interpersonal relationships. By engaging with the people who matter the most, you can learn not only about general social skills, but about how those skills can have the greatest possible impact within your own community.
Although individualized care aims to meet your unique needs, not every program will offer the exact mix of programming and amenities that’s right for you. It’s important to find a rehab center whose treatment philosophy aligns with yours. In the right context, you’ll be surrounded by providers with expertise that applies to your experience, and able to engage in activities that support your personal healing process. There are many different therapeutic modalities to choose from, and individualized therapy invites you to do just that.
Experiential therapy is a way to process your emotions from a brand new perspective. Rehab programs around the world offer a wide variety of activities that you may find engaging or inspiring. For example, if you want a fully embodied, adventurous experience, several rehab centers in Orange County invite clients to go surfing. At The ‘Ohana, in Hawaii, you can swim with the dolphins. Activities like these invite you to examine your behavioral habits in a greater context, and not just in a private room with a talk therapist.
There are countless ways to approach healing. It’s quite common for individualized treatment programs to offer holistic care, with the intention to heal the body as well as the mind. You may have the opportunity to receive massage, reiki, acupuncture, or similar treatment modalities. These techniques encourage clients to learn about mindfulness, come into the present moment, and accept themselves just as they are.
Recovery is important, but it’s not always convenient. But you don’t have to delay your own healing process. Many clients choose to attend intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), which may be more feasible than residential treatment.
For example, Evolve Treatment Centers has several locations in California, treating adolescents from 12 to 17 years of age. This program allows them to continue living at home and going to school, while still engaging in treatment that’s tailored to meet their needs. Because of this flexibility, clients can get the help they need without interrupting this important chapter of their lives.
People of many demographics can benefit from individualized treatment programs. “For example, a middle-aged mom of two children going through a separation is going to have very unique needs…versus someone who might per se not have a family, not be married, might be a single male, youthful, 18 years old,” says Alex Spritzer, Family Addiction and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at The Hope House Scottsdale. “Considering where the person exists before the disease process, their home environment is really essential to their recovery.” In the context of individualized treatment, healthcare providers seek to honor each client’s experience, providing the best possible care for that particular person, at that particular time in their life.
However, bespoke care isn’t right for everyone. For some clients, it may be overwhelming or counterproductive to take such an active role in designing their own treatment course. Individualized treatment is founded on the idea that your unique needs are important. If what you need is a predefined structure, it’s important to respect that.
Rehab is, among other things, a way to regain control of your own life. When you begin treatment by working with a team to assess and understand what your life entails, you will almost certainly learn a great deal about your needs, goals, and values. This process mirrors the process of recovery itself.
If you think bespoke treatment may be right for you, learn more about luxury rehabs offering individualized care here.
Reviewed by Lisa Misquith